WICHITA, Kan.- Wichita State stayed alive in NCAA Regional play by eliminating Oral Roberts, 11-4, Saturday afternoon at Eck Stadium. Starter Rob Musgrave dominated the mound for the Shockers and Wichita State’s offense finally came through in the seventh to put the game away.
Wichita State wasted no time, taking an immediate 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The Shockers started the game with three consecutive singles used to plate the two runs. Andy Dirks chopped one through the right side and Derek Schermerhorn hit a line drive to shallow left field with both runners moving up on a balk by Jerry Sullivan. Damon Sublett found the same right-side hole to bring in the runs.
Jake Kahaulelio ruined a perfect first inning for WSU starter Rob Musgrave with a two-out line drive single to left-center, but ORU left the runner stranded with a quick infield pop out for the third out.
A two-out walk to Andy Dirks in the top of the second exploded into a bases-loaded situation with a single by Schermerhorn and a second walk to Sublett. ORU replaced Sullivan after the hit and reliever Jeremy Hefner issued the free pass to make the bags full of Shockers. Matt Brown sent one screaming to the right side, but second baseman Kahaulelio backhanded the ball and came up with a play at first to end the threat.
Musgrave came out struggling through the second, as the Golden Eagles managed two runs to even the score. A lead-off walk to Brian Van Kirk was followed by a single from Pat Warfle that dropped in front of the right fielder. Carter McQuigg laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners and David Genao and Adam Younger took balls to left field that crossed the runs. After a visit from pitching coach Brent Kemnitz, Musgrave went after the next two batters and got them both on strikes.
Musgrave continued to battle through the next 5.2 innings, scattering five hits, including a solo home run by Warfle in the eighth. Wichita State was ahead by eight when Kyle Touchatt took over. Musgrave (10-2) earned his tenth win and ended with three earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 7.2 innings, while racking up nine strikeouts.
Hefner baffled WSU hitters over the next three innings, facing only one over the minimum. Kahaulelio played a big part in the defense by saving several would-be hits and getting in the mix of a double play.
Josh Workman drew a lead-off walk in the sixth, stole second and continued to third on a fly ball by Tyler Hill. Tyler Weber shot one past third base as Workman motored home, making it 4-3, while Dusty Coleman kept it going with a single to the left of second baseman. Dirks absolutely blistered a ball towards second, but Kahaulelio made another amazing play, speared the hit and touched second for a double play.
The Shockers had figured Hefner out and found a groove that gave them a six-run seventh inning. A walk to Sublett followed a Schermerhorn single and Brown bunted for a base hit to juice the bases with no outs. Conor Gillaspie got his first hit of the day, a two RBI single up the middle, and a double from Workman that bounced over the third base bag plated a third run. That was enough to knock out Hefner, and after failing to manage an out, the junior left-hander was replaced by Eric Chricton with runners still threatening at second and third.
Chricton’s efforts didn’t last long, as the senior faced only six batters. Hill’s fly ball to left field drove in Gillaspie and Weber doubled over the head of the left fielder to cross one before Coleman grounded out. Dirks had his seventh hit in two days with an RBI single through the right side that gave the Shockers a 9-2 advantage. Schermerhorn hit a high pop up that appeared to be lost in the sun for a moment, but first baseman Chad Rothford was able to corral it for the third out.
After a lead-off double by Sublett in the eighth, ORU brought in Chris Ashman to try and save the sinking game. The plan didn’t work, as the Shockers managed two more runs to take a commanding 11-2 lead. Gillaspie reached on a single to shallow right field with a ground ball by Workman plating a run and a throwing error by the third baseman extending the inning and allowing the second run to score.
Touchatt issued back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the ninth and Rothford made them hurt with a single to left field that brought in one. Touchatt got control and forced a fly ball from Kahaulelio and threw two consecutive strikeouts to wrap up the game.
Hefner was tagged with the loss, falling to 9-2 with six earned runs on seven hits and four walks over 4.1 innings of work.
The Shockers play the winner of the night-cap, Arizona versus New Orleans, at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.